July 22, 2020, Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time
Scripture: Matthew 13:1-9
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the lake. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!’
The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
“And he told them many things in parables . . .”
I picture the day in my mind’s eye: blue sky, rocky shore, waves bobbing the boat that holds Jesus, the crowd hanging on his words. Jesus speaks, and his words float out over the people like a soft breeze of the Spirit. What refreshment his teaching gives these people, whose lives are burdened with cares, sickness, financial worries, even the tragedies that can stop a person cold with heartbreak . . . . They feel as if Jesus speaking to each of them individually, and truly, he is. The Good News is miraculous in many ways, but the way it has penetrated to the hearts of people all over the world through the ages is a miracle that goes on continually.
I think of the way my life was changed as I first heard and read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. I was sitting with a small pocket Bible on the banks of the Stanislaus River in the Sierra Nevada mountains of northern California. Even now, looking back, I feel a sense of connection with Jesus audience on that shore in Palestine.
Jesus preferred parables when teaching the people, who could easily learn to use the book of nature as a springboard to the deep realities that he presented. I can do this too. The Holy Spirit’s gift of understanding helps me to go in faith from created realities to their Creator. In such moments the “soil” of my soul become fertile ground for the seed of the Word that the Lord sows in my life.
Lord Jesus, enlighten me with the wisdom of your parables. Help me to be good soil for the seed of your teaching. Nourish that seed with your grace, so that it will grow and flourish thirty, sixty, a hundredfold.
“Let anyone with ears listen!”